Worker illegally claimed £11,400 in benefits for over a year

The case was dealt with at Teesside Magistrates' Court. Pic: Google Maps.
The case was dealt with at Teesside Magistrates' Court. Pic: Google Maps.

A benefits fraudster claimed more than £11,400 for over a year to which he was not entitled.

Craig Peloe carried on claiming housing benefit and employment support allowance even though he was working, Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard.

District Judge Kristina Harrison adjourned passing sentence on Peloe after the court heard he was not suitable for community work or rehabilitation activity days.

“I am looking for an alternative to custody,” said the judge.

“I’m not considering custody, but if Mr Peloe is not suitable for community work or rehabilitation days, what do you suggest I do with him?

“Proof of his current employment hours will have to be provided to the court.”

Peloe. 35, of Chesterton Road, Hartlepool, admitted two charges of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances between August, 2014, and November, 2015.

The court’s liaison probation officer said Peloe had been in a violent relationship which led to absence from work.

He feared he would lose his job, so began claiming benefits.

Peloe’s current work involves him leaving the house at 8.30am and not returning until 11.30pm.

The officer said those hours made a community penalty difficult to manage.

Lee Goodchild, defending, said: “Mr Peloe leaves the house at 8.30am to get public transport from Hartlepool to his work in Boldon.

“He doesn’t get back until late at night.

“He has committed a serious offence, but he should not be penalised at sentence for rehabilitating himself and for becoming a useful member of society by working.

“Perhaps the case could be dealt with by means of a conditional discharge.”

Judge Harrison said a discharge or fine was not a suitable sentence.

The judge adjourned Peloe’s case for his solicitor to provide proof of his current working hours.

Peloe was bailed to return to court on Tuesday, July 17.